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parallel park

The parallel park is one of the most feared manoeuvres for learners in my experience. It appears to be so simple on paper but the hard parts are knowing when to do each steer. Like everything in driving there is never a write answer for everyone. Some people use what I call 'left right right left' whilst others use 'full lock left full lock right' whilst others still just adjust as they go. The important thing is not the method you use but how its is executed. Lets have a look at one of those methods  the 'LRRL' version.

Start by pulling up alongside the vehicle ,about a car doors width away, with your door mirror in line with the front of the car. This gives you enough time to get your wheels straight for the reverse. Now put your car into reverse gear immediately to tell other road users your intentions, This will stop them getting too close behind and hopefully inform them to pass.

Now take full observations around the vehicle finishing up looking over your left shoulder through the back window to ensure you can identify anyone that may be moving around your vehicle. If you do see anyone, PAUSE and assess what the person or vehicle is about to do (count to 3 in your head). If safe to do so, reverse until the back of your car disappears behind your passenger side head restraint. You can use one of several visual clues such as the one shown in this image.

Now turn your steering wheel one full turn to the left whilst continuing to reverse. You need to turn until you are approximately 45 degrees to the kerb (another way of thinking about it is imagine a clock, see picture opposite). This is where most people struggle but it honestly doesn't matter what angle you use when practicing. Once you get to 45 degrees then steer 1 full turn to the right as this will make the car go straight.

Next continue to reverse in a straight line whilst making regular checks for other road users and pedestrians. Stop when you can no longer see any tarmac of the road in your left door mirror. At this point steer 1 more turn to the left to make the front end of your car move towards the kerb paying close attention to the front end of your car near the parked car.

Finally, when you think your passenger door handle is parallel to the kerb in the passenger door mirror steer the wheel 1 full turn to the right. If possible reverse a little further to be certain you are straight. 

Remember at any time you can drive forwards to correct any misjudged sections.